A James Maloney masterclass saw the Panthers get off to a strong start against the Cowboys and going on with the job in the second half to win by 19 points, taking home a 33-14 victory at 1300SMILES Stadium.
Referee Gerard Sutton grew tired of penalising Penrith for repeated off-side infringements in the first half, culminating in the sin binning of James Tamou in his 200th NRL game late in the first half.
However the scoring began after a Cowboys penalty inside the first 5 minutes, which resulted in Maloney kicking a penalty goal. The Panthers then gave away four straight penalties, however the Cowboys attack failed to click, eventually turning the ball over.
The Panthers marched down field on the back of a penalty. Maloney took on the line, drew Morgan and then sent Kikau over for an easy try with a lovely pass. Maloney converted.
Three minutes later and Penrith capitalised on some scrappy play. Maloney's kick crashed into Morgan's legs, then Kikau soccered the ball on. Thurston spilled the ball while diving to regather it. Peachey tried to kick the ball despite over running it, but the ball somehow found Maloney who dived over in the corner. He then nailed the sideline conversion.
Penrith gave away another 4 straight penalties, the last of which was yet another offside infringement, this time against Tamou, who was marched to the bin for ten. The home side wasted no time taking advantage after running a nice right side play to create an overlap, which saw Feldt stretch out to score in the corner. Thurston's conversion from touch missed.
Right on halftime, Penrith received a penalty and Maloney added another two points.
The second half began with a big hit, as Taumalolo hit the ball up from the kick restart and collided with Yeo. The Panthers back rower came off second best and had to be helped off the field. Before the set was completed, the Cowboys turned the ball over before giving away a penalty. Maloney kicked the penalty goal.
Two minutes later and the Cowboys gave away the same penalty again on their own line and Maloney again kicked a penalty goal. At the end of the next Panthers set, Maloney kicked a great 40/20 from dummy half. Cowboys again gave away a penalty and Maloney kicked yet another penalty goal.
Five minutes later and the Cowboys finally started to show some discipline and urgency. They had a good attacking rush going down the Panthers right edge which saw Hampton make the Panthers defence backpedal, before he sent a good pass to Winterstein who scored in the corner. Thurston's sideline conversion was again a long way off.
Maloney was again back in action when his kick found Waqa Blake, who did remarkably well to hang onto the ball and score. Maloney nailed the extras. The next ten minutes saw the Cowboys gain the ascendancy, before eventually breaking through when Morgan through a brilliant cut out pass to Feldt who scored in the corner. Thurston converted from touch.
Maloney ended the Cowboys fightback with a 76th minute field goal and two minutes later Fisher-Harris had a strong run before offloading to Leota who scored. Maloney kicked his 8th goal of the game to give the Panthers a 33-14 victory.
Next week the Panthers are at ANZ Stadium to face Parramatta, while the Cowboys head across the ditch to face the high-flying Warriors.